Let them play!
Last night, I was able to attend a Butler Bulldogs vs. The Princeton Tigers men’s basketball game at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse on the Butler campus, an exceptional place to watch a game, a cozy 10,000 seats close to the action, amid some of the original beautiful architectural features from 1928, that are still visible: Hinkle Fieldhouse, when built, being the largest basketball stadium in the world … and although it was a game well played, the new interpretation of the foul rules got in the way of the game being truly pleasant.
Excited to see Princeton’s offense in action, Butler, for the most part, is still well-groomed and well-trained by Butler’s new coach, and Brad Stevens heir Brandon Miller closed the cuts on Princeton’s back since the beginning, forcing Princeton to shoot three points in the first half, and then, after a halftime adjustment, clearing space for their players to attack Butler and the basket one-on-one, which, under This new interpretation of the foul rules, also known as “all hands out,” caused foul, after foul, after foul, and turned the game into a ticky tack foul shooting contest when Princeton would go to the line. and then he would go to the foul line again, and then Butler would get a retrieval call, and he would come back, and he would go back and forth.
By the end of games, Princeton had thrown 37 free throws, the most free throw attempts Princeton had made since the Tigers fired 40 free throws against Columbia in February 2005 … potentially a good game. played by Butler, and what should have been an easier Butler win, crawling through the free throw to eventually create a chance for Princeton to tie the game with less than ten seconds to go.
Butler managed the 70-67 victory, but the most notable team in the game was not Butler, nor Princeton, but the umpires.
While the NCAA did not directly change any foul rules on the books, here are the most important changes or “points of emphasis” umpires will be looking for this college basketball season:
(Note: The NCAA also changed the wording for the offensive blocking / charging foul, which is a welcome change, hopefully eliminating the defensive flop that had become an all too prevalent defensive tactic in college play. upward movement to pass or shoot … so basically the defensive player has to be in a defensive position earlier than last year to get a charge call).
Fouls should now be called when …
1) When a defensive player keeps a hand or forearm on an opponent.
2) When a defensive player puts both hands on an opponent.
3) When a defensive player strikes continuously extending his arm or arms placing a hand or forearm on the opponent.
4) When a defensive player uses an arm bar to impede the advance of an opponent.
What Causes This?
Well, from what I saw last night at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse …
1) Quick whistles to any defender one on one.
2) The whistles stop the game just as the game starts as the offensive players try to cut through the screens.
3) The defense packing in the lane and allowing only three-point wide shots.
4) Quick whistles when any big man is going to shoot with two or more defenders around him.
5) It is important to note that the game does not flow.
6) The energy of the local public is being depleted by the continuous interruptions of the game. (I saw some yawns in the crowd that made me yawn too … being contagious.)
7) Players on both sides get frustrated.
8) An unintended effect – and since I’ve been watching college basketball it’s always been there – of the referees calling for more fouls on the team behind in favor, which, at least in this game, seemed to cause the best team in the court, Butler, to, although playing better and being the best team tonight, they can’t get as far away as they should have been. (Note: ESPN commentator Jay Bilas, in Michigan State’s # 2 78-74 win over # 1 Kentucky, continually commenting that Michigan State should be way higher than they were and comments from Adreian Payne and Matt Costello after the play).
The NCAA stated that the need for these new foul interpretations, supposedly, was that the score in college basketball was at a modern-era all-time low last season. The idea and ideal, supposedly, behind these new interpretations of the rules is also that by calling these fouls this would increase the flow, movement, and athletic art of college play.
The first problem I have with this NCAA idea is the perceived need for more scoring, and that there is an ongoing idea throughout the American sports world that “more scoring” makes the game more entertaining.
My second problem with this idea and NCAA ideal is that some of the best and most entertaining basketball games I’ve seen were tough battles, where every basket made was magnified.
I think the NCAA views last year’s NCAA championship game between Louisville and Michigan as the ideal high-scoring and entertainment event, a final score of 82-76, but that their vision of that game as a college basketball game ideal fails to see that the score was not created by fouls or lack of fouls, but rather by the unique styles of each team that made the match more open and higher-scoring, to include:
1) The Louisville press, when effective, creates high-quality offensive opportunities.
2) Louisville’s press defense, once broken, leaves an open space for the offense to operate if done quickly.
3) The John Beilein system encourages high-quality photography.
4) Trey Burke was playing and was the best college basketball player last season.
5) Neither team had a truly dominant big man that could affect the other team’s shots.
6) Spike Albrecht, who averaged 2.2 points per game last season, hit 4 triples and scored 17 points in the first half.
7) The only limiting factor on offense for either team was Louisville’s Russ Smith, whose low-quality, selfish shot selection Smith finished 3 of 16 from the field was Louisville’s only offensive obstacle and games.
It is important to note that in this highly entertaining championship game, fouls and free throws had very little to do with the entertainment value of the game, rather it was the team’s compliment styles, lack of dominant big men, strong offensive strategies and a player. , Albrecht, freaking out, which made the game very entertaining.
From what I saw last night at Hinkle Fieldhouse, the NCAA has chosen the wrong route to open the game, increase the score, and make the game more entertaining, and that, from their decision to reinterpret fouls, I don’t think they understand very well. either the game they rule, or the reasons why the flow of college basketball has slowed.
If you really want to increase the flow of the game, open space and increase the score (although free kicks falsely increase the score), fouls are not the way to do it.
A practical solution would be to reduce the shot clock to 30 or even 28 seconds, which would give those ball control teams a little more time to have the ball and control the pace, give the teams enough time to get and create quality offensive opportunities, and increase the number of shots fired per game.
Although it would never change now as the rise in the massive popularity of the games has coincided with the start of the 3-point shooting … the best way to increase the flow of the game would be to eliminate the triple as players would have to . learn to run down the lanes properly on the fast break and you wouldn’t find yourself in predictable areas on the court while playing offense for defenders to take. Although this would never happen now, the 3-point shooting has, over the years, become part of the problem for the flow of the game. Note that it was the era of the player who didn’t grow up with the 3-point shooting as part of their game, that is, Magic, Bird, Jordan, and therefore players who had to be stronger on offensive fundamentals. of the game (which does not include excessive 3-point practice), which brought college basketball into the era of popularity it has today and also brought the NBA to its best level of play in its history despite more defenses. physics known to the game in the late 1980s and early. 1990s.
Of course, over time, college players will adjust in part to these new interpretations of fouls and find new ways to limit the mobility of the offensive player by getting in their way and standing in front of them, and in the present, coaches will design more zone defenses. to protect his players from fouls (and thus increase three-point attempts), but this does not make basketball more visible.
So instead of increasing the number of fouls, after watching last night’s game at Hinkle Arena, it seems to me that the NCAA should be more realistic, accept the game as it currently is: the current skill level of the players, the physique current and improve players’ strength, as the NCAA board members and coaches who made these decisions used to play or start watching the game, and take into account the current popularity of the college game, and instead of change the game, their enjoyment and the possible outcomes of the game in To give us what they perceive we want, while still respecting the rules, go back to how the referees called the game last year with the improved way of determining offensive fouls and frankly, just let them play!